One of the most exciting days for the new astronaut group occurred on the morning of 22 January 1968, when they were present at Cape Kennedy for the launch of the unmanned Apollo 5 flight. The Saturn IB rocket used for the launch was actually five times less powerful than the mighty Saturn V, which was still under development, but it would carry a prototype Lunar Module on its first test flight. This flight would verify the ascent- and descent-stage propulsion orbital performance of the Lunar Module.
Phil Chapman could hardly believe the noise and power of the launch, and he urged the huge rocket on as it cleared the gantry and thundered off into space. Following his selection the previous year, he had found himself under an especially bright media spotlight, because he and fellow candidate Tony Llewellyn from Wales were the first NASA astronauts to have been born outside the United States, so it was
Phil Chapman gets a close look at the 1 G mock-up of Lunar Module-3 during familiarisation training at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. On the left is Louie Richard of Flight Crew Support Division's Crew Station Branch.
Chapman mside the Lunar Module Mission Simulator m Building 5.
In March 1968, Phil Chapman stands in the centrifuge gondola of the Manned Spacecraft Center's Flight Acceleration Facility.
, where they
Brian O'Leary and Joe Allen are strapped into the gondola of the MSC centrifuge, will experience forces up to 9 G.
, where they good for the Australian scientist to get away from that for a while and become involved in watching real Apollo hardware at work. One day, he knew, he might be sitting on top of a rocket like that, soaring out over the Atlantic Ocean on his way into orbit, and perhaps even beyond.
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